I was to live there for three years, while my father attended Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In those days, it was considered among the more liberal of the six seminaries operated by the Southern Baptist Convention, but it was already in the throes of skirmishes between thoughtful, erudite professors and reactionary trustees with little intellect but much power (that is to say, money). Happily, I was able to take evening classes with some of these amazing scholars, completing a Certificate of Christian Education with courses on archeology, theology, and even ministerial marriages. (When the reconquest of the institution was completed years later, this opportunity was renamed the Diploma of the Ministering Wife, making the gender biases of the new bosses quite clear.)
Opie Taylor” years – more formative, but I do not know why those three years in KC can drop out of mind sometimes.
|Missouri was only the beginning.|
|Barely noticed her|
Incidentally, I have taken a couple of geographic oddities for granted. Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) is bigger than Kansas City Kansas. It is not the biggest city in Missouri, though: that is St. Louis (which I only know from numerous pass-throughs and a stop -- we really splurged -- at the former Noah's Ark restaurant in St. Charles). Also, North Kansas City is a separate city that is, well, north of Kansas City. But when the regional airport was built (halfway, it seems, between downtown and the corner of Nebraska), Kansas City, which had been south of the Missouri River, annexed every unincorporated bit of land between the river and the airport, adding scores of square miles, thousands of people, and not a few cattle to its tax base. So we lived in Kansas City north and had to go south to reach North Kansas City. I attended the excellent Northgate Junior High School in Kansas City and the even more excellent North Kansas City High School in NKC. Just north of us (but to the south and east of the airport) was the independent little city of Gladstone, which included a cleverly named park: Happy Rock. Get it?
I should not mention the Missouri River without pointing out an additional geographic oddity, which I learned from William Least-Heat Moon's excellent travelogue River Horse. The book describes his coast-to-coast journey by boat, which includes a harrowing journey during high floods along the lower part of the Missouri River. He makes a convincing case that the Missouri and Platte Rivers should properly be considered the upper reaches of the Mississippi, even though they enter the "main" stem at a right angle, and that by this measure the Mississippi is the longest river in the world.
Be sure to read Pam's main entry for Missouri, either by scrolling down or by clicking here.